WSU ALL BLACKS ASSEMBLES “BEST TEAM THE UNIVERSITY HAS EVER HAD”
Upheavals arising from lack of depth that plagued the WSU All Blacks rugby squad during last year’s Varsity Shield competition are headaches of the past as this year’s team is the most balanced in the history of the team.
Addressing an audience comprised of the Vice Chancellor and Principal Prof Rob Midgley, the Buffalo City campus student leadership, the University’s sports administrators, as well as the players at the capping ceremony in East London recently, All Blacks coach Sipho Metula eased all concerns regarding the depth of the squad.
“Last year we had issues with the prop position – we didn’t have enough of them. It is most worthy of noting that this year, we have no less than six players in that position who are all capable of doing the job. We indeed do have a well-composed team with enough depth to carry us through this taxing 8-week season,” said an excitable Metula.
Team captain Phumlani Blaau, who lead the team to a painful loss against CUT in last year’s Varsity Cup playoff game, reiterated the coach’s sentiments whilst hastening to add that the team are fully fit and ready for the task that lies in wait.
He said there exists an unbreakable bond and camaraderie amongst the players, each of whom realise that the team is much bigger than any individual within the team.
“We have a great team spirit premised on the highest levels of discipline and humility. We understand that without these traits, we’re doomed before we even take to the field,” said Blaau.
Vice Chancellor and Principal Prof Rob Midgley, an avid rugby fan, impressed upon the players the duty and responsibility they carry on their shoulders to represent the university with pride and distinction.
He said the team was an express embodiment of what hard work, focus and dedication can culminate to in the pursuit of success.
“To maintain this upward trajectory, you will have to take it one game at a time and one moment at a time. You must keep your feet on the ground and, most importantly, respect your opponent so you don’t rest on your laurels,” appealed Midgley.
The capping ceremony climaxed with the announcement of the 23-man squad set to square off against arch rivals the Fort Hare Blues at the Davidson Stadium in Alice on Monday 18 February 2019.
That opening fixture will then be followed by a blockbuster double header on Thursday 21 February which will pit Rhodes University against the Fort Hare Blues, whilst the WSU All Blacks will have a mammoth task in staving off an assault from the NMU Madibaz later that evening.
FINAL SQUAD TO BE FIELDED AGAINST FORT HARE BLUES:
1) Phumlani Blaau (Captain) (Loose prop) 2) Sivuyile Gcilitshana (Hooker) 3) Masonwabe Ngcem (Tight prop) 4) Xolani Jacobs (Lock) 5) Bonginkosi Ngqushwa (Lock) 6) Ayabonga Ntaba (Flank) 7) Mihlali Mosi (Flank) 8)Chumani Mjacu (8th man) 9) Anathi Shenxane (scrum half) 10) Lwandile Maphuko (Fly half) 11) Tebogo Modego (Left wing) 12) Yamkela Nyembe (Inside Centre) 13) Sinegugu Lituka (VC) (Outside Centre) 14) Monde Matiwane (Right wing) 15) Lusanda Xakwana (Full back)
16) Thokozani Ngondwana 17) Hlumelo Nondonga 18) Mankwe Konenyani 19) Mihlali Ngunkana 20) Lithemba Ngcethane 21) Sakhele Ngeno 22) Thembani Koki 23) Xolani Loki